From Khelan Bhatia. Follow Khelan on Twitter @KhelanB or email him at khelan[AT]borderstan.com.
Yep, I know, I know. It’s been a while since I’ve written a BorderSound column. In my defense, that’s mainly because it’s been a while since I’ve dragged my ass to a show. Well, the drought ended this past weekend when I went over to the Black Cat, right in the heart of Borderstan, to see Dragonette.
I’m sure half of you just said “Awesome!” and pumped your fist in the air, while I’m sure the other half just said “Who?” For you lot in the latter camp, I’m sure you’ve heard this track. On the same page? Excellent. Back to our regularly scheduled programming.
Now, this is the third time I had a chance to see this wonderful Canadian electropop group. And I’m more than happy to say that each of Dragonette’s shows were a marked improvement over the last time I saw them… and they were pretty damn good to begin with. Performances, especially in a relatively small venue, can only succeed if there’s a direct connection with the audience; like a pleasant feedback loop. And Martina Sorbara, the lead singer, is as charismatic as she is gorgeous and talented. I tell you… it’s a treat to see a a band perform that’s so confident and assured in their talent.
Before I go any further, I’d be remiss in not mentioning the opening band, the Knocks. Openers, like an appetizer before a main course, are a tricky business. You need to complement the meal, yet not overpower it. I’ve been to concerts where the openers so overpowered the main act, I wish they’d been the headliners (e.g. The Presets before Cut Copy in ’08).
And I’ve been to shows where I’m convinced the opening act wandered in and completely killed the mood. Liz Phair, I’m looking at you with your ill-advised acoustic set before the Flaming Lips. Thankfully, the Knocks, with their groovy half-DJ/half-pop band set, found that sweet spot that got the audience primed for Martina and the gang.
On to the Main Event
You know when you stare at a piece of art or listen to a song and you can’t quite remember every brushstroke or lyric, but you vividly recall how it made you feel? Yeah, that was the Dragonette show. I can’t tell you for exactly how long they played (not long enough!) or the sequence of their songs, but I do remember this… I remember being unbelievably happy.
And feeling alive. Especially when they played a track from their second album: “Pick Up the Phone.” The song is amazing on its own. But the audience, including yours truly, went a little nutty when they mixed in Cyndi Lauper’s classic “Time After Time.”
I’m pretty sure all of 14th Street lost their sh*t when the aforementioned, “Hello,” came on.
It’d been two years since we saw Dragonette in the District. Let’s hope we don’t have to wait so long next time.